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Field closures may delay return of youth sports

Gov. Ducey approved resumption of youth sports
Posted at 6:46 PM, May 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-29 21:46:29-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - As Arizona reopens from COVID-19 precautions, children and parents can get back to some of the youth sports they love. Thursday, Governor Doug Ducey allowed youth sports programs to resume right away. But it will still be awhile before kids get back on the fields.

Even though Governor Ducey says it’s okay for kids to play ball, playing fields for the City of Tucson and Pima County will still stay closed for a few weeks.

The city says Mayor Romero’s order closing city facilities will hold until June 8. For Pima County, there is a reason for the closed fields that is unrelated to the virus: this is the usual time to close fields for reseeding and maintenance.

Ted Schmidt of FC Tucson Youth Soccer says his league uses online training to keep players active while they wait for activities to start; probably in early July.

The Arizona Soccer Association has drawn up extensive guidelines on safely returning to play. You can see them at this link.

Schmidt expects competitions to be smaller at first, with maybe four players per side.

“We're telling parents right up front, number one, if you don't feel comfortable with your child coming out and participating in these social distancing and safer methods of play, don't have them common they will not be jeopardized in terms of their ability to make a team or their playing time if they don't come,“ says Schmidt.

Cindy Snow of Little League Region 12 expects practices to start June 8 and games to begin maybe two weeks later with players and spectators spread out for social distancing. But it’s still a challenge when the action brings players together.

"I mean that that's been the question and I just don't know how it's gonna work," says Snow. "They're talking about you know, moving umpires to behind the pitcher so you’re going to have that distance but I just don't know how it's going to work."

Both soccer and baseball organizers say they expect to get in enough games, so young players will feel like they did have a season.